Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 1 Glasgow

Day 1 Glasgow

April 10, 2012
Welcome to my blog about the fifth Scotland adventure I’m leading for textile enthusiasts and their traveling companions. I'm happy to be fiddling, walking, and well, mostly riding around Scotland once again. Folks ask why I do this trip. The simple answer is, I love the country and it’s people. In a nutshell, I spent the summer of 1997 in Scotland hiking and roaming, meeting farmers, weavers, felters, fiddlers, and singers. That is when I hatched my idea to bring folks who like music, old stones, and weaving to Scotland to meet my friends! It took 10 years, but in 2007 I brought my first group from North America over. I’ll keep leading this trip as long as people are interested in getting an insider experience into the spirit of this place and its people.

This group includes travellers from CA, ID, CO, MN, MI, IA and FL. For some it is their first time out of North America. Others are regularly on the road. We have a wide mix of backgrounds from a sheep rancher, to professors, computer technologists, accountant,  and avid volunteers. There are  individual travellers,  and several couples. Two women, once on the tour, discovered they graduated from the same class at the same high school!  

Our first stop was House for an Art Lover. The house was designed over 100 years ago by Charles Renne Mackintosh for a contest to design a house for an art lover. He submitted his entry under the pseudonym "Der Vogel" and indeed throughout the house, you find motifs of birds. He did not win the competition. But in 1980, two businessmen decided his house should be built. And in 1996, the house, in Bellahouston Park, in Glasgow, opened.

The clean lines and the influence of nature inside the house was influenced by Mackintosh's appreciation of Japanese design. Throughout the home the "Mackintosh Rose" symbol appears again and again. Margaret Macdonald, Charle's wife, a fine artist, designed the gesso plaques and the stipling on the wall . When the house was built, students from the Glasgow School of Art and other area artisans recreated the furniture, cabinets, stained glass, virtually the entire interior as the Mackintosh's designed it 100 years ago.

Charles died in 1928, poor and virtually forgotten, and Margaret died in 1932. Their marriage was a true love story. Today, people world wide value the design aesthetic we today call "Mackintosh" There are many other sites in the Glasgow area that feature the architecture and interiors of Charles Mackintosh. The House for an Art Lover might be a good place to start. 

Tulips in the walled garden outside of House for an Art Lover
The Burrell Collection, is  housed in a museum in Pollok Park. Sir William Burrell amassed great wealth in the shipping business and spent his money on collecting artwork from all over the world. However he started collecting art at age 12. he collected his entire life until his death at age 96. He considered the tapestries to be the most important part of his collection. There are over 200 in the collection. The family gave the entire art collection to the city of Glasgow.  

Liz Gibson, an enthusiastic volunteer docent, guided us through the tapestries and embroideries on display. The collection includes large and small tapestries from Flanders, Brussels, and France. Most of the tapestries are currently not displayed as the museum is in the process of cataloguing and studying  them for a scholarly publication. 

 “Four Scenes from the Life of a A Virgin” was woven in Switzerland in the late 1400's and woven for the church. It has wonderful little details like the fact that the angel's eyeswere woven cross-eyed!
Large tapestries were woven in Flanders and France. Brussels was a major weaving center in the 1500's. By this time the royalty were commissioning most of the tapestries. Henry VIII was reported to own over 2000 tapestries. “Prudence Arriving at the Temple of the Divine Wisdom” approximately 5 x 12 meters, was woven on its side which made it much stronger when hanging. The weavers sat side by side following a cartoon. They only had 2 dozen colours of yarn at that time, so they used a hatching technique which created 3rd colour from two yarn colours and added dimension to the figures.
Burrell also collected 350 embroideries. English embroideries were the best of the day during the Stewart and Tudor periods. Men and women could earn a tremendous wage in the profession.  Mary Queen of Scots was an amazing embroiderer.  I   could not take photos of the embroideries due to low light.

Walking around the park, which has a large herd of Highland cattle, flowers, and trees, is a green peaceful retreat in the middle of the largest city in Scotland.http:/

Photos in the blog by Nadine Sanders.

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.